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MOT retests – bookings and information

If your car fails its MOT, your examiner will issue you with a ‘refusal of an MOT test certificate’ (VT30) which indicates the ‘dangerous’ or ‘major’ failure items that need to be repaired. Driving without an MOT is illegal, so once these problems are serviced, you will need to book a retest. In this, the tester will go through the problems listed in your VT30 and make sure the vehicle is road legal.

But what are MOT retests? How much do they cost? What are the rules governing them? And how long do they take compared to regular MOTs? Scroll down to learn more.

For even more information, view our guide on what happens if your vehicle fails. Alternatively, explore our other informative MOT guides, talk to us on live chat, contact us online, or give us a call if you have any questions regarding your MOT or retest.

What is an MOT retest?

 MOT retests are either partial or full MOT tests that occur after your vehicle has initially failed its MOT.

They’re more common than you’d think. Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) statistics show that between 2018 and 2019, 2.2 million Class 3 and 4 vehicles (cars with up to 12 seats) in the UK passed their MOT after initially failing it, with 7.7 million failures occurring overall (26% of the total).

MOT retests are crucial. If you don’t get the issues in the VT30 form fixed and then book an MOT retest, then you can’t drive the vehicle – it’s that simple.

MOT retest rules: what are they?

 There are many MOT retest rules, governing how retests are performed, their scope, and how much garages charge for them.

Firstly, all MOT retest applications need to be made within 21 days of the MOT test failure. The retest needs to then be completed within 60 days of the initial test. If you still have time on the MOT certificate, you can drive your car to a garage for repairs or a test, but it is illegal for you to drive it anywhere else – you will receive a £1,000 fine if you are caught doing so.

You can appeal the results of your MOT test if you disagree. If you want to appeal, ask your test centre for a VT17 form – the instructions on how to appeal are laid out on the form – and lodge it within 14 days of the initial test. If you want to make a complaint about your MOT test or service, then make sure to chat to the test centre manager – they will be happy to sort out your issue.

MOT retest costs and fees: how much do you pay?

So, do you pay for an MOT retest? Is an MOT retest free? In some instances, your vehicle can be given a partial MOT retest for a reduced fee – or even for free.

Whether a partial retest is applicable depends on where you have your vehicle repaired and how long you take to return it to the MOT centre that carried out the original test. If you want a partial MOT retest fee, there are three options open to you:

1. Leave your vehicle for repair – free MOT retest

If you leave the vehicle in National’s test centre and we repair and retest within ten working days, you won’t have to pay an MOT retest fee.

2. Take your vehicle away for repair and return it by the end of the next working day – free MOT retest

If your current MOT certificate is still valid and your car is roadworthy, with no dangerous faults, you can drive your vehicle away to have any defects rectified by another garage.

If you return your vehicle to our test centre by the end of the next working day, then your partial MOT retest will be free of charge. This only applies to certain failure items, however – a full list can be found on the government’s website.

3. Take your vehicle away and return it for a retest within 10 working days – reduced MOT retest fee

If you decide to drive your vehicle or have it towed to another garage for repairs and bring it back to the same test centre within 10 business days, you will only be charged a partial retest fee.

In all other cases, the full MOT test fee will need to be paid again. However, if you booked an MOT after signing up for an MOT reminder from National, you will have got your MOT at a discounted rate for your assessment, which can nicely reduce the cost of an MOT retest.

MOT retest time: how long do they take?

Most MOT retest timings differ, given that they are dependent on the problems listed in the VT30 MOT failure form.

To get a partial retest for free, you will need to get your vehicle fixed and retested at our centre within 10 business days, or one working day if it’s fixed by another workshop.

For a discounted partial retest, you can take your car to another garage for repairs and return it to us within 10 working days for a retest.

What if you fail your MOT retest?

It’s highly unlikely, but if you fail your MOT retest, you will be able to fix the issues and get it tested again. Be sure to talk to the workshop manager of the garage that conducted the initial set of repairs, however, especially if your retest fails for the same reasons as before.

Why choose National for your MOT retest?

Performing tens of thousands of MOTs every year from our 100-plus-strong network of dedicated MOT testing centres, National Tyres and Autocare are experts in MOT retests.

If we perform your repairs within 10 working days or you get your vehicle back to us within one working day, you will get your retest for free. You can also get a reduced fee if another garage fixes the problems and we retest within 10 working days.

For 50 years, we’ve been going the extra mile. We also offer both a free MOT due date checker and reminder service too – perfect for getting a cut-price rate on your next MOT.

All our staff are thoroughly trained in performing MOT retests and continually kept up to date on new test procedures too, so you know you’ll be able to get a quality retest from a garage near you.

If you need repairs done before your retest, you can benefit from National Payment Assist. This lets you spread the cost over four, six or twelve months, with zero fees and no interest. Because everyone deserves affordable motoring.

Choose us when booking your MOT retest

The UK’s expert mechanics, booking an MOT retest with National is the simple, low-cost option. Arrange your retest with your testing centre, or get in touch online, via live chat, or over the phone if you have any questions. For more advice, visit our information hub.

Arrange your retest 


We now offer a free MOT Reminder Service to take the hassle out of remembering your MOT and to avoid any last minute panics. Sign up for FREE at and we'll email you a month before your MOT is due to expire.

* Not all MOT ramps can accommodate a Motorhome, please check before travelling

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